Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Saying No to Child Labour in Domestic Work!

June 12th: World Day Against Child labour.
The day was commemorated in Kathmandu today raising awareness of the public regarding child labour in domestic work.   A rally of almost 2000 people through the heart of Kathmandu wound its way to the historic 16th century Kathmandu Durbar Square where everyone pledged to say “No to Child Labour in Domestic Work” in Nepal.
The event, led by the Ministry of Labour and Employment included partners from 35 government and non-government agencies, including ILO and UNICEF, various trade unions and the private sector - was the largest and most impressive show of force since ILO first launched the day against child labour in in 2002.

Mr. Lila Mani Poudel, Chief Secretary, Government of Nepal, inaugurated the rally that started in front of the Bhadrakali temple premises, by releasing a bunch of balloons.  Speaking after that he said, "Such a rally is necessary to draw attention of the public on the issues of child labourers. Ultimately, child labour can only be eliminated with stringent laws and punishing those who flout it.  For hiring child labour is a crime."   
 ... the rally starts... UNICEF Representative Ms. Hanaa Singer is holding the right end of the banner...
 .. the tip now held by Jose Assalino, ILO Country Director for Nepal...
 ... walking past the Shahid (Martyr's) Gate...
 ... and onto the stretch along Tundikhel...  The banner reads, "Let's end child labour in domestic work!"
 ... traffic stopping rally heads towards New Road gate ...
... media covering the event...
... and other topics of interest to them...
 ... walking on.. Chief Secretary in Nepali dress and cap in second row...

 ...  walking along New Road ...

 



 ... child labour is a crime, reads the placard being raised by the boy in the front...
Slogans raised at the end of the rally by children and adults alike: "Not work, Give us Education!"
 
...more innovative and illustrative placards...
 .. rally heads towards Basantapur Durbar (Palace) Square, in the heart of Kathmandu...
 .. near the Kumari Ghar (House) the place where the Living Goddess lives...
 .. the rally ended in front of this temple at the Durbar Square... the banners used in the rally now decorating the giant steps below the temple...
 ... writing on the t-shirts:  "End child labour in domestic work"...
 ... "End child labour. Using child labour is a crime."

 
...ILO and UNICEF Representatives wait for the speeches to begin...
 “To address child labour in Nepal and in the world, we need more than awareness - we need action. Just saying no to child labour is not enough, we should say yes - to action against child labour,” said Jose Assalino, ILO Country Director for Nepal.

 .. placards come in handy to protect participants of the rally from the summer sun...

 ... the square...
“UNICEF stands koom ma koom (shoulder to shoulder) with the government and other partners in this struggle, and to provide all the necessary support to ensure that one day we can all proudly claim that Nepal is a bal shram mukta desh (country free of child labour),” said Ms. Hanaa Singer. 
 ...Hanaa  managed to get the crowd to repeat the nepali slogans after her!
  ... more speakers...
 ... signatures of solidarity...
 .. placard by Government and Plan depicting various forms of child labour...
 .. some members of the UNICEF contingent...
 Krishna Hari Pushkar, the Director General of the Department of Labour said, “Child labour is a social disease, and like all diseases it must be tackled in a concerted manner so that it is removed forever."
The programme concluded with a drama performed by children (supported by the NGO CWISH) centred around "Putali" a domestic child worker, the emplowers who are mean to her.. her hapless father and policemen who are there. .but hidden behind darkness...


Putali.. alone in her plight of exploitation and abuse...
 ... ill-treated...
 .. .until she breaks out of the exploitative cocoon, takes matter into her own hands...  and decides she should be given a chance to live as a child and with the help of the police who finally come from behind ther curtains, goes home with her father...
... the actors...
 ... freedom from slavery indeed...

According to an ILO study, 40 per cent of children aged 5-17 are working, and approximately 620,000 are engaged in hazardous forms of work including domestic work, mining, as porters and rag picking.


ILO 138 Minimum Age Convention in 1974, and ILO 182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention in 2002, but child labour continues to be a key obstacle to development in Nepal.

(Photos: Rupa Joshi & Kaustuv Pokharel)

3 comments:

  1. In any way, the Domestic Helpers has the biggest role to play in order to ensure a better life and a better future for everyone.

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